Thursday, August 20, 2009

Literacy Improvement Using Extended Family

Some relatives more than others are willing to be involved with children’s education in a productive manner when they are given a direction or specific method to “plug in” to help. When a specific path is provided it can provide less friction and positive outcomes.

One area literacy experts are still pushing is encouraging parents not to abandon is reading aloud to children when children have mastered decoding. While children should be increasing the amount of independent reading they do, it is important that children still be exposed to books at higher comprehension levels and are still hearing models of decoding. Reading aloud provides both activities.

It is also important to vary the materials children have access to in order to insure that they are developing reading comprehension skills in all genres of fiction and non-fiction literature. As adults we tend to have our own preferences and these may or may not influence our child’s choices. However, introducing them to people who do read and enjoy genres that are different than what we are naturally drawn to can help children learn to enjoy different types of literature.

One book I would strongly suggest parents read is Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook. This give parents great strategies and specific resources on continuing the read aloud process. It also can be useful in helping engage extended family in choosing books to share with your child.

Not all relatives are going to get on board but many will if you can make the commitment simple and easy to handle. Even for distant relatives there are many technologies available that allow them to share a book with a child with or without a visual.

Also consider answers to those challenging what to get the child for birthday and Christmas questions. Some relatives truly do not know how to approach shopping for a child. Consider some easy literary options. Magazines are easy for most adults to purchase subscriptions for and many age with the child. You will need to tell the person when the child is ready for the next level but this can be a great learning opportunity for your child and a simple and often not overly expensive way for a relative to remember your child’s special dates. You can click this link to find some of the magazine links but there are many magazines for children that follow general and specific interests.

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